Sodium Carbonate Monohydrate O-C-275 for M172, M232, M857, etc

Hey guys:

I need Sodium Carbonate Monohydrate for some Army dummy ammo and the spec was cancelled. So no one really wants to make it to a cancelled spec.

Is anyone aware of any other ‘approved’ inert filler that would not react with brass, copper or lead over a long time?

I have attached the old Spec for reference.

Jay O-C-00275D.pdf (526.8 KB)

Have you tried Hawkins Chemical in Roseville Minnesota?

In case there is no spec, you can use the sodium carbonate monohydrate you think is appropriate, can’t you? No valid spec means, in my naive opinion at least, they cannot say “its not up to spec”.

Jpeelen - No. To the best of my knowledge…

  1. Since there is a spec, but its not viable, we would need to get an Req for Waiver (RFW), Req for Variance (RFV) or Eng Change Proposal (ECP). Since USG cancelled spec, ECP is likely.
  2. The USG would require the ECP to spec out something.
  3. MAST wants something spec’ed out so that we can buy the same item every time, it would react the same every time, it would load the same every time, etc.
  4. The USG suggested ‘sand.’ However, even the sand would HAVE be to a spec to call out materials, grain size, etc.
  5. Compatibility - need to make sure the material does not react or corrode with brass, copper or lead.

In short, it is way more complicated that you could imagine.


Commercial grade sands are available and manufactured to controlled specs, with MSDS available. That should meet your needs. I’ve also seen lead shot, coal dust and sugar used.

The US or perhaps it was the Australians or perhaps both that used sugar in 7.62 NATO dummies & the rounds are now corroding themselves to death.

Jay, if this will help there is a Mil Spec for sand used as blasting media. Many of the same properties would apply to loading it into dummy cartridges (dry, non-caking, free-flowing, particle size, etc.). The spec is MIL-A-22262B, MILITARY SPECIFICATION: ABRASIVE BLASTING MEDIA SHIP HULL BLAST CLEANING (05 APR 1993) and it says it is “available for use by all Departments and Agencies of the Department of Defense.”

Granted, it isn’t intended for filling dummy ammo, but if I understand correctly from what you said there is no spec for that now. It should also be relatively inexpensive.

Larry - Thanks. We will take a look. I think even for ‘sand’ they may want us to do some testing for ageing and compatibility, etc.


Does anyone know what is in these L C 8 6 Scamp Dummies?
I have not checked HWS III yet…Nothing that late in HWS. Earlier Dummies had “A charge of 31 grs. of sodium carbonate”, but I have no idea if these have the same filler.

I have a sugar filled Australian 7.62x51 L2A2 from 1966 that is in pristine condition. I just licked it and it didn’t taste sweet, so I think it is OK :)


Hi Jay,

This is the military specification for barium sulfate: MIL-B-48177.PDF (374.8 KB)



Thanks all

  1. Fede -
    a) I saw that spec too and the others that list out the formulas that include the barium. Mixing a bunch of material is not ideal. Especially still needing some testing - confirm load repeatably, not too hydroscopic, etc.
    b) I also saw the 20mm that used Laminac resin.

  2. As a reminder - we have multiple sources of the Sodium Carb, just not ones that will still certify to Mil-Spec. Original vendor sent samples no problem. Then we asked for more for FAT with certs and they could not do that.

  3. The stuff we got was fine grains of a dark grey powder - close to powdered graphite.


When I’ve loaded .50-70 with smokeless powder (modern firearm), I decided that the load density wasn’t high enough (probably around 55%) with the powder that I wanted to use. So I used spherical plastic shotshell buffer, run through the powder measure and on top of the powder. This brought it up to about 105% so that it was a slightly compressed load, so that the powder and buffer would not mingle in the case. Requires a firm (but not excessive) crimp.

Please remember no loading data here

Here is an email today from the supplier that quoted us for a DOD contract, supplied us a sample and then when we asked for FAT lot and CofC’s they start back peddling.

“We do not currently certify to ANSI PH4.227, PPP-C-300, PPP-F-16, MIL-STD-105, and MIL-STD-129.”

These are all the specs in the standard I provided above!!!

So, it looks like we are going to recommend “silica sand.”


People wonder why stuff bought by the government costs so much. Well, they have requirements that are incomprehensible to normal people, and often conflict with each other. Lots of suppliers just won’t put up with having to deal with all the BS involved to bid on a contract. Then if they do bid and get a contract there is no guarantee it will continue long enough to be profitable, or if some other outfit with some sort of preference (like being a small, disadvantaged, woman or minority owned business) will take it away.

The guys supplying the filler material have to do all the same sorts of QA and certifications and tests for a couple of pallets of the stuff, or a trainload, and all that costs money and time.
A vendor having a better idea or cheaper way of doing things will be shoved aside because there are already specifications and standards written and bureaucrats don’t want to work to change them, and besides, it’s not their money which is being spent to buy the stuff.

Good on Jay for being willing to jump through the hoops to provide the stuff that is needed, despite all the obstacles they throw in his way. Play their game, but make 'em pay! (Yeah, I know, I will actually help pay for it.)


I was told it took 7 pages of mil-spec to specify men’s t-shirts. 12 pages of mil-spec to specify Worstershire sauce. This was to make sure all companies bidding on whatever received equal treatment. This is why many companies just don’t do business with the U.S. government.

Many years ago I manufactured clothing and webbing for the Australian forces. Apart from the specifications we had to deal, at times we had Army Inspectors who were engineers and couldn’t understand why clothes couldn’t be made to tolerances of 1mm or less. Rather a lot of fun with a tank crew coverall which had 81 pieces in it.
Funnily enough I still miss the challenge, go figure.

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John, I can relate to that. For me it was mainly metals, with some other materials, wood, plastic, canvas, etc. at times but as we supplied to various countries and services i.e. army, navy, air force, etc… Just to make matters that bit more exciting we covered from legacy to modern equipment so matching the specs was a challenge in its self. Loads of the older drawings had the name of the supplier in the Bill Of Material or the Parts List. these could go back to companies that were in business in the 1930’s in some cases, so finding them or their equivalent specification items complete with certification was all good fun and like you, Yes I do miss it.